“Those who can’t be true to themselves will never be true to you too.”

Dear Citizens of India,

In an unprecedented move, some 600+ theatre artists from every corner of this country have come together and are issuing an appeal to all of you to not fall prey to politics that divides us, turns each of us against our own, and ravage the resources of our country for the benefit of the few. Yes, there has been corruption in the past, riots and hate campaigns for political benefits, and insufficient governance. But the unabashed brazenness of the current regime to subvert everything – norms, values, ethics, ethos, culture, secular fabric, liberty, freedom of expression, education, media, scientific research, environment, history, public institutions including even RBI, judiciary, and the Indian Army – has no precedence. 

Our individual rights are being taken away or trampled in the name of surveillance or national security. People are being stymied by pressing false cases of sedition against them. The idea is to throttle every voice that is critical, and through systematic social and political boycott push these voices towards destitution. 

We speak not at the behest of any ideology, political party, or from any sense of election tokenism. We are genuinely concerned about the way our country’s social fabric is being torn. We appeal to you to understand our country’s real concerns, make our elected representatives and bureaucracy more accountable, and ensure in our attempt to progress we do not leave behind the weakest, the marginalised, the silent and voiceless amongst us. 

Please vote wisely, please vote for freedom, please vote for a just society. Uproot Hate. Those who can’t be true to themselves will never be true to you too. 

We live in the hope of a better India. We live with the hope of being our better selves.

Jai Hind.

The statement from theatre practitioners across the country and their names can be seen here

Note: This is a part of a series of articles from writers who are deeply uneasy about the future of the country. They are each an appeal to citizens – discussing what in their view, is at stake in this General Election.  

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“संविधान देश का मूलभूत क़ानून है, हर नागरिक पर बाध्य होता है और बाक़ी सभी ताल्लुक़ों से भी ऊपर है”